Osama bin Laden Is Dead

The latest on the daring raid that took out the terrorist mastermind and Sept. 11 architect

2:54 p.m. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports on Osama bin Laden's "burial" at sea:

An official at Monday's Pentagon briefing said the body was washed and placed in a white sheet. It was then placed in a "weighted bag," and a military officer read prepared "religious remarks," which were translated into Arabic by a "native speaker" who was not further identified.

The body was then placed on a "prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased's body eased into the sea," the official said.

The deceased terrorist was buried at sea because no country would accept bin Laden's remains, a senior defense official said.

The Navy has not yet offered details or released photos.

1:52 p.m. Wired's Danger Room blog makes clear that the "main security measures" protecting Osama bin Laden's compound, pictured here, "come from where it was built: 35 miles 'northeast - towards India - of Islamabad and within the Pakistan air defense intercept zone for the national capital,' as the Nightwatch intelligence newsletter observes.

"It means no drone could've pulled off the hit on Bin Laden." Osama Bin Laden

1:07 p.m. The New Yorker's Steve Coll says the "initial circumstantial evidence suggests ... that bin Laden was effectively being housed under Pakistani state control."

"Looking at maps and satellite photos on the Web last night, I saw the wide expanse of the Academy not far from where the million-dollar, heavily secured mansion where bin Laden lived was constructed in 2005. The maps I looked at had sections of land nearby marked off as "restricted area," indicating that it was under military control," he writes. "It stretches credulity to think that a mansion of that scale could have been built and occupied by bin Laden for six years without it coming to the attention of anyone in Pakistan's Army."

11:06 a.m. The Associated Press reports: "Two Obama administration officials say DNA evidence has proven that Osama bin Laden is dead, with 99.9 percent confidence.

"The officials did not immediately say where or how the testing was done but the test explains why President Barack Obama was confident to announce the death to the world Sunday night."

10:34 a.m. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has posted a statement on Facebook. "All of this was made possible by the relentless, sustained pressure on al Qaeda that the Bush administration initiated after 9/11 and that the Obama administration has wisely chosen to continue," he said. "This is an important victory in the fight against Islamist terrorism, but the struggle will go on. We must not have any illusions that it ends today or that America can afford to let down its guard tomorrow. " Full statement.

10:11 a.m. National Journal's Marc Ambinder takes us inside "The Secret Team That Killed bin Laden":

From Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan, the modified MH-60 helicopters made their way to the garrison suburb of Abbottabad, about 30 miles from the center of Islamabad. Aboard were Navy SEALs, flown across the border from Afghanistan, along with tactical signals, intelligence collectors, and navigators using highly classified hyperspectral imagers.

After bursts of fire over 40 minutes, 22 people were killed or captured. One of the dead was Osama bin Laden, done in by a double tap -- boom, boom -- to the left side of his face. His body was aboard the choppers that made the trip back. One had experienced mechanical failure and was destroyed by U.S. forces, military and White House officials tell National Journal.

Were it not for this high-value target, it might have been a routine mission for the specially trained and highly mythologized SEAL Team Six, officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, but known even to the locals at their home base Dam Neck in Virginia as just DevGru.

Read the full story.

9:55 a.m. The Wall Street Journal has a slideshow of the Abbottabad compound the day after the attack. Described in U.S. reports as a "mansion," the pictures remind that mansion is a relative term in the international arena; I am not sure that's how this big, blocky structure with its barely finished exteriors would be described by an impartial U.S. eye.

9:44 a.m. ABC News has footage from "inside the kill site":

9:22 a.m. Politico's Mike Allen provides the tick tock on the raid in his morning Playbook:

Obama rejected original plan for bombing; wanted proof - Navy SEALS held two rehearsals last month, with war cabinet monitoring from White House - Raid planned for Saturday but pushed off a day because of weather - Chopper stalled as it hovered over the compound - Forces blew it up and left in a reinforcement craft -- How the fiery raid went down, as told to Playbook by senior administration officials: The compound -- about an acre, with a three-story house - is in Abbottabad, a suburb of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. Officials were very suspicious of the 12- to 18-foot-high walls, and seven-foot wall on the upper balcony. Residents burned their trash, and there was no telephone or Internet connection to the compound, valued at $1 million. But officials never had anything directly proving that Osama bin Laden was living there. The U.S. had discovered the compound by following a personal courier for bin Laden. Officials didn't learn his name until 2007, then it took two years to find him and track him back to this compound, which was discovered in August 2010. "It was a "Holy cow!" moment," an official said.

The original plan for the raid was to bomb the house, but President Obama ultimately decided against that. "The helicopter raid was riskier. It was more daring," an official said. "But he wanted proof. He didn't want to just leave a pile of rubble." Officials also knew there were 22 people living there, and Obama wanted to be sure not to kill all the civilians. So he ordered officials to come up with an air-assault plan. The forces held rehearsals of the raid on April 7 and April 13, with officials monitoring the action from Washington.... At 8:20 a.m. Friday, the president informed National Security Adviser Tom Donilon that he was authorizing the operation. Donilon signed a written authorization to CIA Director Leon Panetta, who commanded the strike team. The raid was scheduled for Saturday, but weather pushed it to yesterday. The Navy SEALs arrived at the compound at 3:30 p.m. ET yesterday and were gone by 4:15 p.m....

The helicopter carrying the assault force appeared to stall as it hovered over the compound, producing heart-stopping moments for the officials back in Washington. Aides thought fearfully of "Black Hawk Down" and "Desert One," the failed Iranian hostage rescue mission. The pilot put the bird down gently in the compound, but couldn't get it going again. The assault force disembarked. "They went ahead and raided the compound, even though they didn't know if they would have a ride home," an official said. The special forces put some bombs on the helicopter and blew it up. Bin Laden resisted the assault force, and was shot in the face during a firefight. With the team still in the compound, the commander on the ground told another commander that they had found Osama bin Laden. Applause erupted in Washington. Reinforcements came and picked up the SEALs, who had scavenged every shred and pixel of possible intelligence material from the house. U.S. forces took photographs of the body, and officials used facial-recognition technology to compare them with known pictures of bin Laden. It was him.

8:38 a.m. The FBI's "Most Wanted Terrorists" page on "Usama bin Laden" has been updated with the word "deceased."

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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